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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

SUBJECT-MATTER OF LAW AND ADMINISTRATION.    437
a considerable burden on articles of great expense, which will
not, within reasonable limits of taxation, be reduced in de-
mand. Those who want silks and costly wines will not fall
off much in number, if the duty rises one-quarter; while an
equal increase of duty on articles in general use might greatly
diminish the call for them. Or, if they should fall off to such
an extent that the raised tariff occasioned no increase of reve-
nue, no harm would be done. 2. On the other hand, the
use of a tariff for moral purposes directly is exceedingly ques-
tionable. There are immoral books and pictures. Shall
these be prohibited ? If so, we must have a new kind of
inquisitors in the world,'or the state itself must make an index
librorum prohibitorum. The books and pictures, moreover,
would acquire a new value from the very prohibition. Or
shall we have regulations tending to decrease expense and
increase frugality ? Here new difficulties arise which will
require that the private affairs of every individual shall be
scrutinized, and a limit set to consumption, as, for instance,
by a tax on consumption, which no dealer or producer would
bear. 3. All, then, that can be done to put an end to " lux-
ury" with any success, must be done by private persons who
are wealthy, or by some change in public taste and morals.
7. In closing these remarks on legislation for the promotion
of morality, we may ask whether there are any cases where
the state can enforce moral duties, and whether its whole
action under this head is not limited to the prevention and
punishment of immoral acts. I believe that this is all the
state can do; it being understood, however, that in the term
immoral acts is included negligence, or failure to do what
morality demands, such as thoughtless exposure of the per-
son. It may be that in some small states, where the commu-
nity was little more than a large family, the laws undertook
to go quite beyond this ; but certainly, in large communities,
more than this would be nearly impracticable. Ingratitude
towards parents, we are expressly informed, was actionable
at Athens, and it also exposed a man who was drawn to hold
office, to be rejected when his qualifications were examined